Monday morning Mom and I enjoyed another outdoor breakfast at our favorite café, Шарлотка (Sharlotka), where we made our plans for Kiev. Mom’s flight back to the states was early Wednesday morning, so we had Monday evening and all of Tuesday left to hang out in Kiev. We booked an apartment and made a to-do list, and enjoyed a very tasty breakfast, including an omelet and chocolate malintsi (kind of like rolled crepes filled with chocolate!). Here are some pictures to make your mouth water ; )
Then we rode a bus to Kiev and took a taxi downtown to where our apartment was located. We were just getting settled when disaster struck, in the form of my computer dying. Now my Mac has been having problems for a while now, and a few weeks ago I got the blue screen of death and was worried that it was finished. But it revived, and has been working decently since then. I hadn’t used it a lot while Mom was here, but when I opened it up in Kiev I was completely locked out and it looked like the end was upon us. At this point I had a mild meltdown… not only was Mom leaving in 24 hours, but my computer was dead and I would have no way to see her and Dad without Skype!
We had to find a Mac specialist to work some magic on my Mac baby, but Macs are a lot less popular in Ukraine. In fact, the only Macs I’ve seen here belong to other PCVs. Mom offered to take my Mac back to the states to get it resuscitated, but this was only something I was willing to consider if we exhausted all other options. So we took a deep breath, and came up with a plan. I wanted to show Mom Peace Corps headquarters while we were in Kiev, and while we were there we could use a computer to try and find a Mac dealer in Kiev. Mom also tried to brace me for the possibility that my computer might be truly, irreparably dead, and suggested we go to an electronics store to see if we could find a cheap laptop to get me by.
So we set off for Peace Corps headquarters, and Mom got to experience the Metro in Kiev. We got to Peace Corps and checked in, and Mom got a visitors pass so she could come in too. The place was empty, and I couldn’t figure out why until we walked into the PCV lounge, where some other PCVs were hanging out. Apparently, in Ukraine “Easter Monday” (the day after Easter) is an official holiday as well, so nobody has to work.
I used the computer to look up a Mac store while making friends with the other volunteers hanging out at headquarters. When Mom and I got ready to leave, we invited everyone to dinner with us, and we all went to this wonderful pizza place called Mario’s. We had a good time, and for a while I didn’t think about the stress of my Mac dying.
After dinner, on the way back to the apartment, Mom and I found an electronics store where we looked at computers. I didn’t really a want a new one, but we had to consider it if Mac was truly dead. A nice guy who spoke some English helped us, and I explained that I had a Mac that was broken and needed to be fix. He wrote down a number and an address for me of a guy he knew that could fix Macs, and wished us luck.
The next day had a rough beginning—the hot water in the shower didn’t work, and it took 2 hours for anyone to come fix it. Then the Mac store that I had looked up on the Internet was impossible to find. When we finally found the address we were looking for, there was no computer store there! I was feeling dismayed about the whole thing when I remembered the name and address I had in my purse from the guy at the electronics store. I had no clue where this address was, so we flagged a taxi down and gave him the paper. He took us to the outskirts of Kiev, to a residential area, and pointed at a building. We got out, and I called the number, and a voice speaking broken English told me where to go. (Kinda sketchy, huh?)
We went inside, and discovered an office full of Macs! A computer geek who looked just like any guy working at the Genius Bar in the Apple store helped us, and after fiddling with my Mac and making some very concerned faces, he told us that it would take a couple hours and cost 400 greven (which is the equivalent of 50 dollars). I asked if this would fix it, and he promised it would. I was so relieved that he could bring my Mac back from the verge of death! Mom and I went back outside, and the same taxi who had brought us was waiting to take us back to town. We got in, and he sped off. Mom and I were happily chatting in the backseat about our good fortune and what we would do with the few hours we had before Mac would be fixed when our taxi ran a red light and a cop pulled us over. This was my first time ever being pulled over in a foreign country! I felt bad for our poor driver, but the light was pretty obviously red. It took a while, but finally the cop wrote him a ticket and we could resume our drive back downtown. Poor taxi driver : (
With a few hours to kill, Mom and I found a hair salon and finally got my hair cut. Mom and I looked through the books of hair styles and colors while we waited and settled on a shade of chestnut brown with a hint of red. The lady doing my hair was great, and she took at least 3 or 4 inches off my hair to make it healthy again. I left the salon feeling like a new woman : )
Mom and I went back to the shop where my Mac was getting fixed, and it was finished! The computer guy had worked his magic, and Mac would live to see another day. He had completely wiped my computer and reinstalled the latest Mac operating system (Snow Leopard!), and now all was well. It was a huge relief… I don’t know how I would survive without my Mac!
In order to celebrate Mac’s revival, my new hair cut, and Mom’s last night in Ukraine, we went out for a nice dinner to a steak restaurant! It was heavenly… I hadn’t eaten steak since last summer, and every bite was delicious. I even remembered to take a picture to document the experience!
So our last day in Kiev was stressful, but all in all quite successful. We went back to the apartment and Mom got everything packed and ready to leave while I called a taxi company and requested a taxi be sent at 5 the next morning.
So at 4:30, after a couple hours of sleep, we got up and Mom got ready to leave. I hauled the suitcases down to the waiting taxi and soon enough we were on the road to the airport. The ride passed in a blur, and I waited in line with Mom as she checked her bags in and got her tickets for her flights. And all too soon we were saying goodbye, and she was leaving for her flight.
We had two wonderful weeks together in Ukraine, but at the airport that morning all I could think about was how fast it went by and how much I wished I could be flying home with her.